Before the Dallas Cowboys made a trade with Oakland for receiver Amari Cooper, they bonded as a team with an inspiring visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. on Monday.
Coach Jason Garrett said the Cowboys had a great experience over dinner at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History following Sunday’s disappointing 20-17 loss to the Washington Redskins.
Garrett, however, said the team was blown away by what they saw at the museum, which chronicled the history and impact of African Americans in this country from slavery to the present day.
It had Garrett going from, “Wow we really did that?” to hearing “we shall overcome” on replay in his head.
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“Started down and went through the whole history beginning with 1400,” Garrett said. “A lot of talk on slavery. A lot of stuff on slavery I didn’t know about. We started down and you work upwards. They did a great job capturing so much stuff. The Emmett Till exhibit was just remarkable. You could feel the emotion of it. So many amazing stories of courage that were so inspirational. I think our guys felt that. At the end of it, it was great stuff on the impact on sports and entertainment. It becomes this uplifting experience, just the way they set the whole thing up.
“It is very somber. It’s depressing. It’s like, ‘did we really do this?’ And you work your way up and it’s like wow, just that ‘we shall overcome thing’ kept resonating. I kept hearing that over and over again in my mind. We still have a lot of work to do. I think everybody recognizes. It was a special deal.”
The Cowboys spent two hours at the museum and then went to the Lincoln Memorial and took a team picture before returning to Dallas.
“The experience on Monday was unique,” Garrett said. “It’s been something that since its opened I wanted to do. I have seen so many great stories about it. A number of our players felt the same way. To have the logistics work where we could do it after a game, up in Washington, leading into a bye. I thought it was a really good experience It was fun to have that opportunity as a team to do it. Guys got a lot out of it. They enjoyed it. They were inspired by it. We went over to the Lincoln Memorial and took a team picture afterwards. That was inspiring as well. I thought it was a great experience for our entire team.”
The Cowboys had Monday and Tuesday off. They practiced Wednesday and will again Thursday before taking off for the bye weekend.
They will return on Tuesday to start preparing for the Nov. 5 matchup against the Tennessee Titans.
The Cowboys have a history of taking educational trips under Garrett. They have visited the Navy Seals, the Tower of London, Ground Zero and NASA.